Temporal Distortion

  • Published
  • By Col. "Tip" Stinnette
  • 39th Air Base Wing commander
(19 December 1999, New York) A man died on Thursday after falling off the roof of a moving car. He was arguing with his girlfriend during a drive home the weekend before Christmas along Interstate 88. Although the vehicle was traveling in excess of 65 mph in the midst of gale-force winds, the man decided to exit the car onto the roof, presumably to escape from the fight. The man fell to the ground and was rushed to the hospital but died the next day due to head injuries. The woman was charged with driving under the influence.

I am writing this particular article with the hope that those who will be traveling over the holiday will read it and will maybe as a result, be a little more attentive to the associated risks of holiday travel. Now I am not talking about the risk of falling off the roof of a car going 65 mph because that one is self-apparent. What I am talking about is the risk of temporal distortion. Hmmm, what's that ... it's where one distorts time in their mind. Let me better explain; has your mind ever slowed things down or speeded things up? It happens all the time, the good baseball hitters do it, it often happens during accidents, and it usually happens before accidents.

You know, you jump into your car and have to get to your destination in 20 minutes but you are 30 minutes away. So instead of just being 10 minutes late, you try to make up the 10 minutes and every delay along the way seems twice as long as it really is. So you try to pass the car in front of you, which was traveling at the same speed you were, on a two-lane road with a blind bend. This particular pass will gain you maybe 15 seconds. As you come abeam with the car you are passing you see a car coming at you head-on ... time slows down ... two options ... you select the one that takes you off the road ... and into the tree ... this is going to hurt...you hit the tree ... your head begins to move forward ... into the windshield ... and then it's quiet ... and then you're dead...all for 15 seconds ... another victim of temporal distortion. I didn't make this up ... it happened to one of USAFE's own just last week. If you're going to be late this holiday, just accept it ... embrace it ... don't try to race it ... the rest of your life is worth more than 15 seconds.

One more thing ... thank you. Thank you for being who you are ... thank you for all that you do...thank you for picking up trash ... thank you for doing your job ... thank you for being so far away from home...thank you for standing a post, watching a radar, working in the tower, loading a jet, flying a jet, and every other job that goes on 24/7/365 even over the holidays. Thank you for inviting the single Airman to your home ... thank you for picking up the Airman walking home from work ... thank you for waving hello ... thank you for treating others as you would want them to treat you ... thank you for ensuring freedom's future.